The NOVELNY Program : Meeting Minutes
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Meeting Minutes

NOVELNY Steering Committee
Wednesday, April 23, 2008 10:30 AM-2:30 P.M.
Nylink Headquarters, Corporate Woods, Albany, NY

Present: Bartle, Borges, Bower, Burke, Cannell, Conroy, Desch, Ebert, Elliott, Fiske, Gilloon, Heebner, Hogan, Howe, Janowsky, Kendrick, Kramer, Krupczak, Legendre, Mayo, McRae, Penniman, Serlis-McPhillips, Todd, Weisman, Welch, Woodward, Wyrwa

Absent: Bardyn, Choltco-Devlin, Duncan, Eggleston, Hatch, Katzin, Killian, Pope, Roe, Tuliao, Walsh, Whelan

Guest: Elizabeth Carrature-Brown

Recorder: Deitz

Welcome/Roll Call/Approval of Minutes (Sarah Conrad Weisman)

The Steering Committee was welcomed by Ms. Weisman, Chair, and Mr. Penniman, Executive Director of Nylink and the host of the meeting.  Elizabeth Carrature-Brown attended the meeting as a guest.  She is a new Library Development Specialist working with Team 3, the Technology and Resource Sharing Services Team. 

The minutes of the February 6, 2008 conference call were approved:  Hogan moved; Heebner seconded.

Remarks from Chair (Sarah Conrad Weisman)

On behalf of the entire NOVELNY Steering Committee, Ms. Weisman thanked retiring State Librarian and Assistant Commissioner for Libraries, Janet M. Welch, for her service to the committee. Mrs. Welch was with the group from its inception as the NOVEL planning team and the Steering Committee’s first meeting (April 24, 2002).

Remarks from the State Librarian (Janet M. Welch)

Mrs. Welch noted that she is the first woman to serve as New York State Librarian in 200 years of the library profession, a profession which is 80 percent female.  If she had to name the one accomplishment she is most proud of, it would be NOVEL, since it has been so important in terms of what the libraries in New York State can offer, working together statewide rather than as individual libraries, and the continued exponential use of NOVEL.  She thanked members of the NOVELNY Steering Committee and their predecessors for giving her this sense of accomplishment. 

Mrs. Welch referred to her retirement party flyer (May 16, 2-4 PM, 4th Floor Terrace Gallery, Cultural Education Center) and her last fundraising/advocacy effort as State Librarian:  the restoration of the Van Rensselaer Manor papers.  The State Library has a grant from the National Park Service to conserve part of the papers.  The terms of the grant award include a matching funds provision.  Any gift donation for her retirement party will be donated to the Friends of the New York State Library for this purpose.

2008-2009 Legislative Update and Looking Ahead to 2009/10 (Janet Welch)

  • Federal Budget:  $2.5 million of LSTA money is used to support NOVELNY. This is the third year that we are expecting cuts in LSTA funding to New York State. Refer to the New York State Library (NYSL) document, Will Your Constituents Lose Library Services in 2008? for further information. 
  • State Budget:  The State Library has developed a preliminary internal discussion document setting priorities for the 2009-10 legislative year. 

The document suggests funding for the following:

  • New York Library Initiative
  • The New York Digital Collection Initiative
  • Capital Funds
  • State Aid to Schools

Michael Borges—NYLA:  Mr. Borges reminded the Steering Committee that the legislature was still in session. 

NYLA Mini-Lobby Day will be held in Albany on May 19, with a focus on the top four NYLA 2008 legislative priorities:  BOCES-Libraries Internet Partnerships; Dormitory Authority Bonding; Association Libraries Opt into State Retirement; and Sales tax Exemptions for Book Fairs.      

Jason Kramer—NYSHEI/ARIA

The Higher Education Commission endorsed the ARIA proposal, but it did not get through the Assembly and Senate.  The focus is on next year’s proposal, which will continue to tie ARIA to economic development in the State.

New York Digital Collection Initiative (Carol Desch/Loretta Ebert)

The NOVEL Planning Team’s Initiative III was “Develop a Coordinated Program for the Digitization of Information Resources in New York Libraries and Other Repositories.”  See:    Members of the Regents Advisory Council on Libraries (RAC) would like to include the Statewide Internet Library in a comprehensive, multi-phase proposal, The New York Digital Collection Initiative, a collaborative project of New York’s libraries, archives, historical records repositories, museums, and public broadcasting stations.  RAC is seeking full project partnership with the following groups:  The State Historical Records Advisory Board (SHRAB), the Museum Association of New York (MANY), the Association of Public Broadcasting Stations of New York (ABPSNY), and the NY3Rs.  Additional partners are welcome.  On May 20, members of RAC and representatives from SHRAB, MANY, ABPSNY, and the NY3Rs will meet with the Regents Cultural Education Committee, who will then bring the group’s recommendation to the full Board of Regents. 

Action Item:   See the draft discussion paper at:

and share your comments with RAC by contacting Jill Hurst-Wahl at:  

The Steering Committee offered many good comments and questions regarding development of the Initiative.      There was interest in seeing further iterations of the proposal..

Search for the Next State Librarian (Jeff Cannell)

Liz Hood, Director of ETV/PB, has been appointed to chair the search for a new State Librarian. The vacancy will be posted soon; a letter is going out this week asking for nominations and input as to what the job should look like and what skills would be needed for the 21st century.   Stakeholders in the field will be enlisted to put together a search/interview committee. Interviews should be scheduled over the summer, with the hope of completing the process and having a new State Librarian in place by fall.  (Mr. Cannell is confident this position will be filled despite the Governor’s desire to reduce state spending.)

Action Item:   Please forward any questions/suggestion/nominations to Liz Hood, chair of the search for a new State Librarian, at: .

NECAT (Sarah Conrad Weisman)

The health, business and newspaper databases were recently renewed with Gale/Cengage.  The general periodicals database comes due at the end of August 2008.  NYSL staff continue to work with EBSCO to secure a seven-month extension (at a reasonable price) so that the contract will run through the end of March 2009 and all the license agreements for all the content would come due at the same time, which would give us some added room to negotiate. 

NECAT is issuing another survey of libraries to ask about their needs for databases for NOVELNY. The last survey was conducted in 2002.  The survey will be short—ten questions—and will be posted on NYLINE and sublists, with an anticipated release date of June 1.  The survey will ask what respondents are currently using and what they want. 

NECAT wants NYLINE messages about databases to delineate paid content and bundled content.  People have come to rely on bundled content without knowing it is secondary to the primary NOVELNY licenses.


  • (Amy Heebner)

The NYSL and NYS Archives (NYSA) are still in discussions with regarding the digitization of library/archives materials.  The Library is proposing digitization of various microfilm collections. will index the materials and will provide the NYSL/NYSA with digital files for archival purposes.  They will be free of charge for all New Yorkers.  Timeframe:  Still too early to say.
Action Item:  E-mail Ms. Heebner ( with comments on

  • Universal Broadband Grant and Gates Grant (Linda Todd)

 The NYSL has received $621,000 from the NYS Office for Technology for increasing broadband access in public libraries in New York State.  This five-year program will target libraries that are already participating in the Gates initiative.  The grant amount will be spent in the first year; the next four years will be spent working with the various libraries to show the impact of the funds and the value of the program.

In October 2007, the NYSL received Gates online opportunity funding—421 public libraries participating—as determined by Gates’ criteria to be eligible for the purchase of hardware.  The first year match is 25 percent of funds received; and the second year (through December 2009) requires a 50 percent match of grant funds.

Action Item:  E-mail Ms. Todd ( with comments on Universal Broadband and the Gates Grant.  

  • NOVELNY Usability Study (Linda Todd/Dave Fiske)

One of the outcomes of the Statewide Education and Information Program was a redesign of the NOVELNY web site.  The next step is to conduct a usability study of that site.  The Division of Library Development received several proposals submitted by firms interested in performing a usability study of the web site.  After reviewing the material submitted, it was decided to engage the services of the Human-Computer Interaction Center at the University at Albany.  The study will be completed sometime in June 2008.  We will receive a report of their findings and recommendations to improve usability.

The Ivy Group made a presentation at the October 2006 NOVELNY Steering Committee meeting.  They were instrumental in developing the new NOVELNY website.  The Statewide Education and Information Project needs to have an evaluation as stipulated in the RFP and the usability study is part of that evaluation.  It will be paid through the Ivy Group Contract.

Note:  If you would like monthly statistics, e-mail the Help Desk and sign up for an e-mail account or call them M-F, 9 AM-4 PM:  Toll free:  877-277-0250 or Capital District area:  518-486-6012.  Stats on your library’s usage will be delivered to your computer every month.

  • Speakers’ Bureau  (Maribeth Krupczak)

The original NOVEL Steering Committee initiated a Speaker’s Bureau which tracked instances in which Committee members spoke about or demonstrated NOVELNY.  The idea behind the Bureau was to provide additional venues to make the potential community of users (e.g., the Rotary Club) aware of the NOVEL initiative.  Does the current NOVELNY Steering Committee wish to continue the Speakers Bureau?

The group believes anecdotes of NOVELNY success stories (e.g., student/patron interactions, great uses of data acquired through NOVELNY) would be of more use/interest.  They can also become part of LSTA final narrative reports and shared with the federal government via the State Program Report.  Steering Committee members will collect stories between in-person meetings to report.

  • Charter School Registration for NOVELNY Databases (Loretta Ebert)

 At a recent NOVELNY Internal Team meeting, it was decided to re-invite charter school participation in NOVELNY. The Charter School Association offered to e-mail Ms. Ebert’s letter inviting participation in the NOVELNY database program and will also include it in their newsletter.  Division of Library Development staff will confer about targeting public schools that do not currently participate in NOVELNY. Do public/private schools need a similar reminder?

Note:  If a system offers NOVELNY training, they are asked to notify the charter schools in their area.

Action Items

  • Please forward any questions/suggestion/nominations to Liz Hood, chair of the search for a new State Librarian, at: . 
  • E-mail Amy Heebner ( with comments on
  • E-mail Linda Todd ( with comments on Universal Broadband and the Gates Grant.

The meeting adjourned at 2:28 PM.


ALA Lobby Day, Washington, DC, May 13-14, 2008
NYLA Mini-Lobby Day, Albany, May 19, 2008


Wednesday, June 11, 2008, 10-11 AM Conference Call
Wednesday, September 17, 2008, 10:30 AM-2:30 PM,
East Greenbush Community Library